Ordega : The Future of Female Football in Africa is Bright

After taking part in yet another successful continental campaign for Super Falcons in 2016, American based winger Francisca Ordega has come out to reflect on the victory in Yaoundé where they overcame the indomitable lionesses of Cameroon (1-0) in the final in front of their Gigantic home crowd.

“This crowd was something else,” an animated Ordega told
FIFA.com. “Even for men, you don’t often see that kind of support. The place was crazy that day, people couldn’t even get into the stadium. This was really something else, truly amazing.

“I was very happy that we won in front of all the Lionesses fans. It is a different feeling altogether. Playing against Cameroon was really tough. They are a great team, and everyone in Cameroon was supporting them. But we had a lot of professionals in our team, and we were able to count on that experience. Also having a female coach (Florence Omagbemi) and female technical crew ... the feeling was somehow different.”

The 23-year-old add that the female football in Africa is now more competitive than ever Ordega says she has seen significant change during her relatively short career. “The first time I played against Cameroon, it was like playing against babies, we were just toying with them and taking them for granted,” she said.

“But now it is different, [Cameroon] were tough and hard. I’m proud that things have changed in my generation compared to how they used to be. In the near future things are going to be different."

“African countries are really improving. Before it was just Nigeria and Ghana, but now it is not just those teams. Everyone [in Africa] is coming on so much. Trust me, in five or six years [African women’s football] is going to be different.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Spirit attacker believes there is reason for optimism about the Super Falcons’ future. It is hard to argue. After all, Nigeria have shone brightly at recent global finals at youth level, where the likes of Desire Oparanozie and Asisat Oshoala have proven themselves to be genuine superstars. “I think we did very well in Canada but we lacked experience,” Ordega said. “Most of our players were 21, 22 and that is a big difference to the likes of Sweden and USA. But we hope to keep growing as a team so that when the next World Cup comes around we will reach the next level.”
Ordega says the talent pool in Nigeria is enormous, but still needs to be developed appropriately. “We have so many young girls playing the game now,” Ordega said. “I get a lot of messages on my Facebook, my Instagram, saying ‘I want to be like you when I grow up’ and ‘I want to be a professional’."

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